Branded to Kill

(Koroshi no rakuin)


Jo Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Annu Mari, Koji Nanbara,

Also screens as part of In Focus: Japanese Film Classics

This fractured film noir is the final provocation that got Seijun Suzuki fired from Nikkatsu Studios, simultaneously making him a counterculture hero and putting him out of work for a decade. An anarchic send-up of B-movie clichés, it stars Jo Shishido as an assassin who gets turned on by the smell of cooking rice, and whose failed attempt to kill a victim (a butterfly lands on his gun) turns him into a target himself. Perhaps Suzuki’s most famous film, it has been cited as an influence by filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Park Chan-wook, and John Woo. 

Tom Vick
  • Hachiro Guryu
  • Japanese
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • 'Scope DCP
  • 91 mins
  • Janus Films/Criterion Collection